Do Airlines Prefer Hard or Soft Luggage and Which is Best?

Taking care of your luggage is one of the most important aspects of your travels. All you need is to have durable luggage. Suppose you are a frequent reader of luggage and reviews. In that case, you must know that I focused a lot on following the TSA and airline’s rules about carrying objects on the plane because it makes your journey flawless and if you don’t follow the basic travel rules, then you might get caught in trouble.

In addition to carrying objects on the plane, most people also want to know “Do Airlines Prefer Hard or Soft Luggage?” What type of luggage you should have depends on your needs, nature, and duration. Buy luggage accordingly. The airline simply wants a durable and easy-to-hand suitcase in terms of its rules regarding sturdy or soft side luggage.

Some suitcases at the airport are in very poor condition or get damaged during luggage transport or handling by baggage handlers, so it’s better to use a piece of strong luggage that can’t easily get damaged. If you want to know thorough information about the type of luggage you can carry on the plane, then you should read my article thoroughly.

Do Airlines Prefer Hard or Soft Luggage

Airlines don’t have any specific instructions regarding carrying hard or soft side luggage. It would be a good idea for you to carry a hard side suitcase. If your luggage falls accidentally, your items remain protected. If you want to keep any fragile items with you, nothing is more convenient than having hard-side luggage. A piece of sturdy side luggage protects items from breaking.

These suitcases are also waterproof so in addition to carrying them on the plane, your items are secure and safe if you travel through rainy areas. You can also check your airline’s policies to confirm whether they have any specific rules or not. Although airlines are very strict about the size and weight of luggage, there are no specific restrictions on the material.

The size and weight limits are different for different airlines for both carry-on and checked luggage so it’s always smart to understand the limits of your airline and those of the airlines of your destination country so that you don’t have to face any problems.

Also Read: Can A 24Inch Luggage Be A CarryOn

Softside vs. hardside Luggage

Do Airlines Prefer Hard or Soft Luggage

You can get a piece of soft or hard luggage and it depends on your personal preferences. There is no difference between these two luggage materials regarding suitability and benefits. This is because both have specific advantages to using. Always select luggage from a trustworthy brand with positive reviews. Another thing you need to consider is that you should buy luggage at affordable prices. This is because a piece of expensive luggage can also get damaged earlier and a piece of average-cost luggage can last for many years so always go for a piece of good quality luggage.

If we talk about the fact that whether soft side or hard side luggage suits you more, then it’s better to discuss their pros and cons separately to get a complete idea about them.

Advantages of Hard Side Luggage

Hard-side luggage is made of rigid material and is sturdy and strong. Using hard-side luggage is recommended if you intend to carry fragile items. Hard-side luggage is more durable. During the entire trip, the luggage can fall so in that case if you have hard-side luggage then there’s no chance for the items to break in terms of item protection from breaking you should go for hard-side luggage.

Hard-side luggage also has advanced features. It has an inbuilt TSA lock system so in terms of the security of the items you would have to choose the hard side luggage because, in case of a hard side suitcase, you don’t have to use any additional locks also the TSA locks are not easy to unlock because only you and a TSA agent can open it. Thieves try to stay away from suitcases equipped with TSA locks.

The Disadvantages of Hardside Luggage

In addition to the advantages listed above, hard-side luggage also has the following disadvantages.

  • These cases are rigid. You can only pack limited items in it. Although they cannot be expanded and don’t allow additional space for putting items inside, you can’t even pack 1,2 additional items.
  • There is no chance of organization in these cases because they lack additional pockets.
  • Storage and placement of these cases require enough space to be stored. You cannot adjust them in small places.
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Advantages of Soft Side Luggage

If you are traveling with the kids, there are a lot of accessories or small products that you need to keep with you. It is, therefore, most appropriate to choose soft-side luggage since they have a lot of storage for your belongings. You can use them and these pockets help a lot during the trip.

A soft side luggage also has the benefit of being convenient to store or place in small places since it is flexible so it is easy to pack extra items inside. They are lightweight, which makes them easier to carry. Some high-quality soft-sided cases are also durable.

The Disadvantages of Soft-sided Luggage

Soft-side suitcases are flexible and lightweight but they also have the following disadvantages:

Keeping fragile items in these suitcases is not recommended because they are not rigid and strong. If they fall, your items can be damaged. There is a greater risk of them breaking and being damaged.

Soft-side suitcases are made of fabric so they are not waterproof. Your items are at risk of being damaged during the rain.

In case of the security of the luggage, a soft side suitcase is also not secure. These cases can be cut easily with a sharp knife or other object. So don’t keep any costly items in it like jewelry. It is also advisable not to keep any cash in it. It’s better to keep important items in a handbag or cross-body bag instead of a purse.

Which Luggage Material is Best?

Do Airlines Prefer Hard or Soft Luggage

By knowing the above-mentioned advantages and disadvantages of both hard and soft side luggage, you can easily conclude which luggage is perfect for you. Along with the appearance of the luggage, there are also some other characteristics or features that matter a lot when choosing the right luggage for your upcoming trip. Let’s compare both hard and soft side luggage on the base of these characters.

  • The durability of the luggage material
  • Weight of the luggage
  • Security of the products
  • Compartments of the luggage
  • Flexibility of luggage

Here is complete detail on these points.

The Durability of Luggage Material

Quality of luggage is imperative to consider at the time of selecting it because a piece of superior quality luggage is the most reliable travel companion and makes your journey flawless. Hard-sided suitcases are stronger. No doubt good quality soft side luggage is also convenient to use but hard side luggage is stronger because it is made of polycarbonate or ABS material that are very strong. If you can buy expensive luggage, buy aluminum luggage. No other luggage can beat a piece of aluminum luggage in terms of quality.

Winner: Hard-side luggage

Weight of the Luggage

Airlines are very strict about the weight and size limits of the luggage. So it is very imperative for suitcases to be lightweight, otherwise, you will have to pay a fine of several dollars. You should also be careful during luggage packing. Always pack only the things you need so that your luggage does not become overweight. To stay within the airlines’ luggage weight limits, lightweight luggage material is also very helpful in addition to light packing.

Winner: Soft-side luggage

Security of The Products

No one wants to misplace even his small item during the trip and also thieves target the crowdy tourists place because it’s easy to steal objects in the crowds. A piece of hard-side luggage has an in-built TSA lock system that ensures 100% security for your items. You can also place trackers in your luggage for security purposes. Along with keeping your items secure from theft, hard side luggage also protects them from damage during transit or mishandled. So for me, security and safety are the first priority and there’s no compromise on it.

Winner: Hardside side luggage

Compartments in the Luggage

The hard side suitcase usually opens up into two big rooms, and it doesn’t have any further interior or exterior compartments. You just have to store all of your belongings in this available space because they can’t expand for extra packing. On the other hand, a piece of soft-sided luggage has many pockets. They also have side pockets. So you can pack all of your items more organized in soft-sided suitcases. All of these pockets are secured with a zipper, so your items are also secure in them.

Winner: Soft-sided luggage

Flexibility of Luggage

All the time you don’t have enough space to place your luggage easily, like on the train or in a hotel room. You have narrow spaces for storing suitcases so you should be flexible so that it can conveniently squeeze and fit in such small places. Soft side luggage is made of cloth and is flexible, so it can be adjusted in the smallest places. Hard side luggage cannot be pressed even a little bit, so it cannot be slung over other objects. However, soft side luggage is made of cloth and is flexible, so you can adjust them easily. You should use soft-sided luggage if you expect to have to place it in small places during your entire trip.

Winner: Soft-sided luggage

Is hard-side Luggage Good for International Travel?

Do Airlines Prefer Hard or Soft Luggage

Yes, hard-side luggage is a good choice for international travel. While traveling around the world, you have to be very careful about your luggage. That’s a harder-side luggage suit more than a soft-side one. Soft side luggage is not strong, and it’s good for domestic traveling so that if it gets damaged during the trip, at least you are in your country and know the manufacturer and markets very well, and it’s quite easy to solve that problem compared to getting in trouble during international traveling. The look of hard-side luggage is also more attractive than soft-side luggage. I recommend you use a piece of hard-side luggage for international travel. It is very good and beneficial for anyone to use.

Also Read: What Color Luggage Is Best


Q1:Which Luggage Type is More Durable—Hard-side or Soft-side?

Ans: Hard-side luggage is made from polycarbonate, ABS, and aluminum, while soft-sided luggage is made from cloth which is usually nylon. Because of this, a piece of hard-side luggage is more strong than a piece of soft-side luggage.

Q2: Is it possible to crack a Hard-sided Suitcase?

Ans: Yes, a hard-sided side suitcase can also be cracked. It’s true that they are durable and don’t break easily, but during falling, low-quality suitcases can also get cracked or dent. Any crack or dent in the luggage also looks very poor in it. You can also hide these cracks by doing some art on them. Decorating the luggage with stickers makes it attractive and hides the crack. Aluminum luggage is stronger than other luggage and is more likely to get dents and cracks.

Also Read: How To Repair Cracked Hardshell

Q3: What is the reason why travelers prefer hard-side Luggage?

Ans: Most of the time, people are more likely to prefer hard-side suitcases. Compared to soft-sided suitcases, they are stronger and more secure to use. Hard-side luggage is much more expensive than soft-sided luggage, but worth it. Some brands only manufacture hard-side suitcases due to their popularity among travelers. Soft-sided suitcases are also not a bad choice, but they are more suitable for domestic travelers.


Hopefully, after reading the complete article about either Do Airlines Prefer Hard or Soft Luggage? Now you have all the information you need about it. Having luggage depends on your personal choice and needs. Airlines don’t have strict rules about it. They just want you to bring durable luggage that doesn’t damage during transit.